Bhutan Scenic Helicopter Journey

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From$16,500
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From$16,500
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20
08 Nights / 09 Days
Paro
Paro

This eight-night trip takes us to the heart of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. From the gravity-defying Tiger’s Nest Monastery to the Temple of the Divine Madman, this trip combines spectacular drives, unique nature walks and fascinating monastery visits. You spend two nights at Taj Tashi Thimphu, four nights at COMO Uma Paro and two nights at COMO Uma Punakha. Your journey deep into the kingdom’s heartland explores three important but distinctly different valleys: The Laya Valley (also known as the hidden paradise), the tropical Punakha Valley with its magnificent D zongs, a nd t he e merald P aro Valley, with rice paddies and ancient temples.

Day 1: Paro – Thimphu
Discover Taj Tashi Thimphu lodge, a peaceful outpost amid the pines on the edge of the capital. Spend a few hours wandering Thimphu’s folk and textile museums, shops and cultural sights. Create your own stamp at the National Post Office before heading back to Thimphu lodge for a traditional cultural performance or Buddhism lecture in the library.
Overnight: Taj Tashi Thimphu.

Day 2: Thimphu
Explore the remote monasteries of Thimphu Valley for an insight into the Buddhist kingdom’s legendary mystique. Guided by your private driver, witness monastic daily life at a Buddhist school and Thimphu’s imposing Trashi Chhoe Dzong. Hike to the 17th-century Cheri Goemba monastery before returning to Amankora for an evening of traditional dance performances – a cultural programme of Bhutanese folk and mask dances.
Overnight: Taj Tashi Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Paro
Arrival, Check-in, and Local Sightseeing
Upon arrival at the airport you will be greeted by staff from COMO Uma Paro before embarking on the 10-minute transfer to the property. After checking in and spending some time settling into your new surroundings, we will take you on your first foray into the Himalayan kingdom, with sightseeing in Paro town and a temple visit. This afternoon trip allows you to acclimatise to the rarefied air at this altitude, as well as the chance to get to know your personal guide.
Overnight: COMO Uma Paro.

Day 4: Paro
Walk to Zurig Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Paro Town, Kyichu Lhakhang and Drukgyel Dzong
Today you will walk through pine forests high above COMO Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress- like monastery of Zurig Dzong. Traverse across to Ta Dzong, home to Bhutan’s National Museum and with magnificent views over Paro, and on down to Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels). The trail then leads across Paro Chhu river via the traditional covered bridge Nyamai Zam, and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace, and into Paro town. Driving a few kilometres north of Paro, you can pay your respects at Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magical orange tree that bears fruit all year round. Time permitting, the group can drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1648 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control the northern route to Tibet.

Duration: 5 to 7 hours (depending on time spent in National Museum and Paro) Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Overnight: COMO Uma Paro

Day 5: Paro – Punakha
Scenic Flight from Paro to Punakha
We will fly you to our sister lodge in Punakha across the scenic Laya village (3,800m). The Layaps people call their home ‘Beyul’, which is a Buddhist word for a hidden paradise. They believe that they are protected by an ancient gate leading to the main village, used by their guardian deities to keep a Tibetan invasion at bay. At an annual ceremony, the Layaps pay homage to the protective forces, who turned all the stones and trees around the gate into soldiers to repel the invaders. From the west of the village you can view the mountains of Gangchen Tag (6,784m), Tshendag Gang (6,994m) and Khang Bum (6,494m), and also catch a glimpse of Masa Gang (7,194m). You can also visit a Laya temple and try yak riding before a picnic. Your vehicle will be waiting at Zomlingthang Punakha to transfer you by road to our sister lodge, COMO Uma Punakha, which is a 20-minute journey.
Flying duration: Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
Overnight: COMO Uma Punakha
Note: Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Ltd is subject to availability and reserves the right to cancel or change flight route subject to weather conditions.

Day 6: Punakha
Chimmi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong and Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
This is a full day of exploration through the lush Punakha Valley, which at 1,200m is low enough for bananas and oranges to grow. The morning starts with a short walk across farmhouses and rice paddies to reach Chimmi Lhakhang, a 15th-century fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint, perhaps better known as the ‘Divine Madman’. This site has long been a pilgrimage for couples hoping to start a family. Heading further down the valley, the 300-year-old Punakha Dzong comes into view. Built in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (who founded the Kingdom of Bhutan) the fortress once housed the country’s government. It is now the winter home of Je Khenpo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. After lunch, the tour takes you on a walk through homesteads and farmland to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family.
Duration: 6 to 7 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate Overnight: COMO Uma Punakha

Day 7: Punakha – Paro
Scenic Flight from Punakha to Paro
In the morning you will be flown from Zomlingthang in Punakha to Paro Valley, offering an aerial view of Punakha Valley and Punakha Dzong. Before turning to Thimphu Valley — now clearly visible from its northern approach — you will see Dochula pass, a road pass snaking up through the breathtaking alpine mountains.
The clear views of the Himalayas stretch before you, including the wonder of Mount Jhomolhari which rises up to 7314m. This magnificent mountain peak marks the western border of Bhutan, with China beyond. Climbing even higher in the rugged Himalayas (around the height of the permanent snow line) an amazing turquoise lake appears amongst these uncharted peaks. Yak herder camps also visible below. As you slowly descend back to the Paro Valley, you are greeted with aerial views of the ancient Drukgyel Dzong and of the iconic Tigers Nest Monastery, which suddenly appears from behind its western ridge.

Your vehicle will be waiting for you at the Paro International Airport to transfer you to COMO Uma Paro, a 10-minute drive. After you return to the hotel, you can spend the rest of the day relaxing in the calm setting — or try your hand at archery, Bhutan’s national sport.
Flying duration: Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes
Overnight: COMO Uma Paro
Note: Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Ltd is subject to availability and reserves the right to cancel or change flight route subject to weather conditions.

DAY 8 Paro
Paro Valley – Taktsang Walk
The historical Paro Valley is the focus of today’s activities, culminating in a visit to the Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery, one of Bhutan’s most important pieces of architecture. According to legend, this cliffside is where Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. The trip starts early in order to avoid the hot sun during the two-hour climb to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint, a steep hike passing a waterfall and ending among beautiful murals at the monastery’s main entrance. If time allows, there is the possibility of heading further up to visit remote temples. After lunch – either a prepared picnic or from the charming Taktsang cafeteria – you return to COMO Uma Paro, where you can recharge on your final night, enjoying the steam rooms, gym and swimming pool or indulging in one of our signature COMO Shambhala treatments.

Duration: 6 to 8 hours Difficulty: Moderate to hard Overnight: COMO Uma Paro

Day 9: Depart Paro
Your 10-minute transfer to Paro International Airport will be arranged according to your flight schedule.

 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY AT PUNAKHA VALLEY
White Water Rafting ‘Mo Chhu – The Temple Stretch’
The temple stretch is a great introduction to rafting. It is a leisurely run with up to grade two rapids, as well as long calm sections. After the exhilaration of the rafting, enjoy an hours hike up to the temple at Nyezengong and then float down the scenic Mo Chhu River, past the Punakha Dzong.

Duration: 2 to 4 hours on the water, depending on river state (up to 45 minutes shorter during monsoon season, July to August)
Difficulty: Easy

Note: Rafting is subject to availability. While our outfitter takes all possible precautions to ensure a safe journey, white water trips entail an element of risk. It is recommended that all participants are able to swim and are in good health. All safety equipment – including life jackets, splash jackets and trousers, helmets, dry bags for valuables – is supplied.

City Night (s) 5* Luxury Hotels
Thimphu 02 Taj Tashi Thimphu
Paro 02 COMO UMA Paro
Punakha 02 COMO UMA Punakha
Paro 02 COMO UMA Paro

 

•  Welcome with fresh flower garlands.
•  Meeting and assistance by our representative.
•  Accommodation for two nights at Taj Tashi Thimphu, four nights at COMO Uma Paro and two nights at COMO Uma Punakha on a full board basis, including picnic lunches during excursion days (excluding beverages).
•  Five-and-a-half days of privately guided excursions, exploring highlights of Paro, Laya and Punakha Valleys.
•  The private services of an experienced English-speaking Bhutanese guide.
•  One 60-minute COMO Shambhala body treatment.
•  Complimentary use of the library, swimming pool, steam room and gym at COMO Uma Paro.
•  Complimentary wireless internet throughout COMO Uma Paro and COMO Uma Punakha.
•  Private airport transfers and transport around Bhutan.
•  All museum and visitor centre entry fees and road permits.
•  Bhutan Visa.
•  Entrance fees to monuments.
•  Complimentary one-hour daily yoga class whilst at COMO Uma Paro (except Sundays).
•  Covering all main / major monuments and tourist attractions in each city.
•  All Transfers, Sightseeing and Overland drive as per the itinerary by private air-conditioned Transport.
•  Luxury vehicle Land Cruiser / Prado to be used for the program.
•  All taxes.

• Domestic and International Flights.
• Personal Expenses.
• Camera / Video Camera Fees.
• Medical Aid.
• Tips.
• Travel Insurance.

• Accommodation in good hotels.

• Check-in / out time is 12 noon at most of the hotels.

• Extension to other places is also possible with a minimal extra cost. – Additional nights are available at each place with minimal supplement.

• A visa is required and must be obtained prior to your departure from your Country.

• If quoted hotel is not available, we will provide one of a similar category and standard.

• Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability.

• In case the government changes presently applicable taxes, increase in airlines prices, fuel surcharge our rates will need to be adjusted accordingly.

• In Asia, there is no relevance between the distance and time of travelling, as it depends upon the condition of the roads and congestion of the traffic.

• While every effort will be made to maintain the itinerary, in view of local strikes etc that are beyond our control all schedule and itineraries are subject to last moment changes.

• Clients must be fully insured, as the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage to client’s property, medical emergencies or any other loss suffered by them whilst on tour.

• In Case of issuing Domestic or International air tickets, SGV is not responsible for any refund if the flight is delayed or cancelled, as it is the responsibility of airline.